Today I grabbed lunch with an old friend, and as expected, we reminisced over our public accounting days. Something that people who work in “those jobs” typically do. I hear the same gripes from investment banking friends, PR friends, and lawyer friends. Many of us have worked that big, high stress, not enough pay, why the hell are we here jobs. Same job, different industry.
75% of the conversation is, “That part sucked, this part sucked, I made that controller mad.” Quickly followed with a laugh. 20% is typically spent talking about the “times.” Funny situations, late nights in the office and at the bar, and the friendships made. The last 5%? Normally spent talking about how much work we did for such little result. Little value, little dent, little effect.
Preface: Some people love the grind, love the big corporate jobs, love climbing the ladder. To those people, I applaud you, and in so many phases of my own life, wish I was that person. There is nothing wrong with being that person.
Yet without getting too Paul Goodman on you, let’s just say it’s in situations like those previously mentioned where a sense of self is inevitable loss. A since of value, and perhaps more importantly a since of creative existence.
“But we’re accountants, we’re not creative.”
Every interaction you have with a partner, a staff, and a client is an expression of you. In the way you communicate, relay information, deliver client service. These are all reflections of you as a person, and an accountant. Sought after accountants and CPAs do a great job of this. These are the folks that are creative. We all have creativity, some express more than others. Is your business struggling? Look inside first, and ask whether you’re being creative enough.
Accountants and CPAs that started their own firm had a desire to deliver value, a desire for personal individualism, flexibility, and independence. A way to show off what they could do. That’s where the art of running a firm lies. We’re all commoditized at some level, showing what you can do past that point is what sets you apart from the pack.
Celebrate your independence as a business owner and as a person who strives to make others better. Leave your creative touch.